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An 11-day itinerary where you will enjoy the immense beauty of Svalbard on a high Arctic voyage among whales, walruses, polar bear and millions of sea birds. Experience summer in the Arctic with Albatros Expeditions onboard Ocean Atlantic, one of the few ice-class expedition ships built to withstand the North Pole's ice pack.
You'll visit the summer residence of the polar bear, as you cruise to 80 degrees north, getting as close as possible to the pack ice north of Svalbard. How far north you reach, and the exact route will depend on ice conditions, while the many amazing locations along the coast's of Svalbard's islands are kept navigable by the warm Gulf Stream. Onboard Ocean Atlantic you will experience areas of Svalbard otherwise not easily accessible. Visit extraordinary locations in the eastern part of Svalbard such as Edgeøya or 'Edge Island' and Bellsund and Hornsund in the south.
On several of the shorelines, you'll spot huge walruses enjoying the short Arctic summer as well as many whales and seals foraging along the edge of the pack ice and the coasts, with Zodiacs allowing you to have frequent shore landings and mini-exploration cruises in the fjords and glacial landscapes.
Day 1: Longyearbyen
Day 2: Alesund, London and Lilienhook glacier
Day 3: Smeerenburg and Ytre Norskoya
Day 4: Monaco Glacier
Day 5: Sjuoyane, eastern Svalbard
Day 6: Alkefjellet
Day 7: Hinlopen Strait and Edge Island
Day 8: Hornsund
Day 9: Bellsund
Day 10: Prince Karls Forland
Day 11: Longyearbyen
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Arrival in Longyearbyen, capital of Svalbard. Your vessel, Ocean Atlantic is docked close to the town centre. After boarding, enjoy a welcome drink, the Expedition Leader will provide information about your voyage, the ship's daily routines and safety procedures. The captain will then take the ship out of Advent Fjord and your Arctic adventure begins
During the night, the ship passes Prins Karls Forland, and arrives in the magnificent Kongsfjord. A visit to Svalbard in the early summer is both a challenge and a gift, as winter ice may block the inner waters of many fjords, but this will also give the best opportunities to observe the elusive polar bear, hunting for seals in prime habitat. There will also be the arrival of migrating birds at this time of year eager to settle and feed.
Enjoy your first landing at Ny Alesund, a settlement that is in fact further north than Longyearbyen, making it the northernmost town. In the afternoon, you will continue further north into the fjord system and, depending on the ice situation, you may take a Zodiac cruise along the Lilliehook Glacier.
Today the ship enters north-west Svalbard, declared a national park in 1973. You may begin the day with a Zodiac cruise in Danskergattet, looking for seals in Virgohamma, before crossing from Danskoya to Amsterdamoya to make a landing at Smeerenburg, the legendary whaling town dating back to the 17th century. There are several interesting places to visit in this northwestern corner of Svalbard. If conditions allow, you will be able to make a landing on Ytre Norskoya, where whalers had their lookout posts.
During the night, your ship will head to Wood Fjord and its branch, the Liefde Fjord. Embark on a Zodiac along the broad glacier front of Monacobreen. This gives a unique insight into the glacial forces and the unlimited forms of icebergs.
During the afternoon, your ship will steer far north towards the edge of the polar pack ice. As the pack ice retreats during summer, polar bears ride the floes north, as this is where their prey - the seals - resides.
During the day, enjoy lectures on board on a variety of topics including polar mammals and the environment. Weather permitting, take a Zodiac cruise and explore the smaller islands around Sjuoyane, or land and take a walk through these barren landmasses. Towards the end of the day, your ship will begin cruising towards the Hinlopen Strait that divides Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet.
In the morning, your ship will cruise slowly by the famous Alkefjellet. The whole area here is home to a dense congregation of Brünnich's guillemots.
More wildlife awaits as you land at the polar desert landscapes of Torrelnesset. The beach here is home to a host of walruses that lay amongst each other, feeding on clams and other molluscs that they find in the shallows of Svalbard waters.
Sail the southern edge of the Hinlopen Strait and cruise through Freemansundet that separated Edgeoya and Barentsoya. Marvel at the views of the massive Kapp Lee on the way and pass through into Storfjorden. During the night, your ship will cross the southernmost part of Svalbard, Sorkapp, and continue its way up the western coast.
As your ship has now passed the southern edge of Spitsbergen, you will arrive at the entrance to Hornsund. The fjord is 30km long and many call it the most beautiful, with lots of glaciers that calve into the waters as well as towering mountains along the shores. The mountaintops are most often covered by dense clouds and East-Spitsbergen current often leads pack ice into the mouth of the fjord. This is a sight to behold!
With the winter ice now melted at this time of year on the western coast, your ship is able to enter the southern fjord of Bellsund, on your last day of full exploration. Bellsund has some of the richest coal layers in Svalbard, and Svea Mine, far into the fjord, was formerly one of the biggest communities on the island.
Enjoy landings at Varsol Bay, enjoy a walk along the beach here. During lunch, your ship will cross the fjord along the 4km long island of Akseloya. Enjoy a Zodiac landing at Calypsobyen in Recherche Fjord, where coal was extracted in the early 1900s. Behind the buildings used for this, enjoy a pleasant walk among the tundra.
During the night, your ship enters Forlandssundet, which separates Prince Karls Forland from Spitsbergen. Your destination today is Poolepynten, a small headland named after the British whaler Jonas Poole. Today the area is inhabited by walruses who can be seen from a distance.
After this visit, your ship will cruise south towards the entrance to the Isfjorden. Enjoy your last glimpse of wildlife as you make your way towards Longyearbyen.
Your ship will arrive in Longyearbyen in the early morning. After breakfast, bid your farewells and disembark Ocean Atlantic and transfer to the airport.
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Newly renovated in 2016, Albatros Expeditions' Ocean Atlantic is a ship purpose-built for expedition cruising in the polar regions, and one of the strongest ships operating in the Arctic and Antarctica. Her powerful engines are designed for extreme voyages, allowing her guests the opportunity to both witness and get up-close to the incredible polar wildlife and the regions' awe-inspiring scenery.
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